The skinning engine inside of DotNetNuke has strengthened over the course of several years and hundreds of thousands of registered users. The success of its skin and module developer community is another key indicator of the depth and breadth of this technology. The Core Team responsible for the DotNetNuke brand has gone to great lengths to enable a predictable and positive experience for both the visitors of the site and the developers who build them.
The practical website design techniques described herein provide you with a modern, agile architecture that embraces the features in DotNetNuke and the flexibility of CSS. As a good steward of standards-based development, the author shows you how to work toward a DotNetNuke solution that successfully passes an HTML validation test. The interactive portions of this book examine how to add personalization, AJAX, Silverlight, and sIFR technology to extend your site.
The primary audience for this book includes people interested in customizing the look and feel of a DotNetNuke website. Skinning is approachable by developers with a software engineering background as well as HTML and CSS specialists.
Although DotNetNuke expects a Microsoft SQL Server database by default, it’s not necessary to have any background in database technology. This book walks you through the database configuration process and quickly moves on to the core focus of the book.
This book covers how to create a custom skin for DotNetNuke. As part and parcel of this process, it discusses the steps to install, configure, and construct a website for a specific group of users. The skin helps invoke the appropriate look and feel of the site and augments the content. It shows a variety of angles to address this challenge and presents several related technologies including CSS, Silverlight, AJAX, and sIFR that can be used to inspire the right mood for your particular site.
DotNetNuke is under active development and this book focuses on version 4.X of the framework. The skinning development features presented herein are interoperable with all 4.X versions, unless otherwise specified. For example, the chapter on Microsoft ASP.Net AJAX recommends version 4.5.5 or higher.
This book contains three sections. The first section levels the field and addresses some basic terminology in DotNetNuke skinning. The second section applies the skills of a skin developer to a specific website. The final section explores a few vertical segments that transcend DotNetNuke and offer opportunities for specialized skills in their own right.
Chapters 1 through 5 get you familiar with installing the system using a variety of techniques and getting acclimated with the files that make up a DotNetNuke skin.
Chapter 1, “Introducing DotNetNuke Skinning”: In the first chapter, you receive a broad overview of DotNetNuke and learn some key concepts including skins, containers, modules, and panes. If you’re new to this open source platform, then this chapter is essential to your success in using the system.
Chapter 2, “Installing DotNetNuke”: In this chapter, you learn how to get started on the right foot by installing the system through a variety of techniques. DotNetNuke is built on ASP.Net and there are several ways to work with it including IIS, Cassini, Visual Web Developer, and our old friend, Notepad.
Chapter 3, “Installing Skin Packages”: Chapter 3 starts at the end and shows you how to apply a new skin package to a DotNetNuke site as well as examines the individual parts of a skin package.
Chapter 4, “Exploring Skins”: After you complete a skin package installation in Chapter 3, you explore the essential parts of a skin file. Chapter 4 discusses the essentials of using panes, skin objects, and containers to augment DotNetNuke modules.
Chapter 5, “Creating Custom Skins”: Chapter 5 expands on the foundation established in the previous chapter by constructing a custom skin through an HTML file as well as an ASP.Net web user control. The author also recommends a couple of tools for developing skins that will help provide some visibility into how the browser renders the page.
Chapters 6 through 9 present an opportunity to apply the skills you started to develop in Part I. You’ll build a DotNetNuke website for a neighborhood association, including an assortment of custom skins.
Chapter 6, “The Neighborhood Association Website”: This chapter presents the background and requirements for the neighborhood association website that you will design and build. Here, you apply an appropriate configuration as well as install a set of modules the community will find useful.
Chapter 7, “Skinning the Neighborhood Association Website”: Chapter 7 goes to work with the process of developing a custom skin for the neighborhood association website. This chapter discusses a process for identifying the number of distinct skins to build and how to architect them for a variety of pages.
Chapter 8, “Designing the Navigation”: This chapter discusses how to switch the menu navigation feature and apply custom CSS rules to modify the look and feel of the site. As part of the discussion, it shows how to install a third-party menu component and work toward a smaller, standards-compliant page.
Chapter 9, “Leveraging Web User Controls”: The last chapter of Part II shows how to add a little panache to the neighborhood association website with a personalization feature that enables the visitor to make small adjustments to how the website renders in their browser. Web user controls provide an enormous potential and you don’t have to be a hard-core developer to utilize them in your site.
Chapters 10 through 15 introduce you to a few specialty areas of DotNetNuke, ASP.Net, and general website development. You learn about some compelling new technologies as well as how to maintain consistency in DotNetNuke across several types of browsers.
Chapter 10, “Exploring Silverlight”: This chapter explores an amazing new client-side feature named Silverlight. It discusses how to add animation and video to the DotNetNuke website you built in Part II.
Chapter 11, “Using Cascading Style Sheets”: Chapter 11 presents the basic information you should understand about CSS including margins, padding, fonts, backgrounds, and positioning. CSS skills provide you with an agile and search engine–friendly website. This chapter shows you how to modify the various CSS files embedded inside DotNetNuke.
Chapter 12, “Web Standards and Compliance”: After the fundamentals of CSS are laid out in Chapter 11, it shows how to work toward a standard-compliant website in DotNetNuke. It discusses how to swap the menu provider and the HTML Editor provider, too.
Chapter 13, “Targeting Modules with CSS”: Chapter 13 takes a pragmatic approach to applying CSS to existing DotNetNuke modules without modifying the HTML. The last section builds a web page out of an RSS feed and Extensible Stylesheet Language or XSL.
Chapter 14, “Exploring AJAX in DotNetNuke”: This chapter takes a look at another hot Microsoft technology, ASP.Net AJAX. The chapter starts with a brief background on AJAX and the DotNetNuke Client API and launches into an example of using AJAX Control Toolkit inside your DotNetNuke page to build an interactive game.
Note: CD-ROM/DVD and other supplementary materials are not included as part of eBook file.